DATING OFFLINEAt Gai Gai - the matchmaking arm of homegrown dating app Paktor that offers both event-based and one-on-one private dates - the mean age of a member is between 30 and 31, said co-founder Alex Tam. In fact, the offline arm was set up two years ago to meet user demands that Paktor - despite its rising popularity - was struggling to meet.“We noticed there were some Paktor users who have not been very successful.There are those who can’t seem to find a match or convert matches into dates, and there are some who are too busy to swipe through profiles …but if you don’t try, you will never succeed.”Mr Gan is not alone.While dating apps have become an increasingly attractive platform to seek love and friendship, there are still plenty of singles in Singapore who prefer joining a dating agency or enlisting the help of a professional matchmaker.They are the ones who want a real person whom they can build a relationship with and are wary of going online,” Ms Hassan said.
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According to a spokesperson from the Social Development Network (SDN), there has been “continued need and demand for offline dating platforms” even as the growing variety of dating apps and online platforms provide a convenient avenue for tech-savvy and busy singles to connect.
Last year, the number of events organised by the 13 dating agencies accredited by SDN rose 23 per cent to 642, compared to 524 events in 2015.
Over at It’s Just Lunch Asia, it is the guarantee of privacy and a human touch in its matchmaking process that have ensured sustained brisk business.
According to managing director Anisa Hassan, the agency now has an active member base of 5,000 people and attracts an average of 800 new customers a year.